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The Cure
Disintegration (reissue) Ben Graham , May 28th, 2010 08:00

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"I knew I would leave you with babies and everything..." – 'Disintegration'.

It was the end of the 80s, and the end of our youth. We had been goths, if you like; certainly, we had grown up listening to The Cure, and bands like them, bands that wore black and sang songs about existential dread that you could dance to, swoon to, drink to, fuck to. Bands that knew about glamour, knew that dressing up and painting your face, primping your hair and striking a pose, were as valid a reaction to the futility of everything as close-cropped, serious sobriety or a drunken nervous breakdown.

It was the end of the 80s, the end of our youth. For some of us there would be new friends in a new town, and new bands to be listened to as we realised that describing yourself as a Cure fan marked you out as the most narrowly and naively provincial of first year students; for others there were shit jobs and dole queues. Actually, there were shit jobs and dole queues for all of us, eventually. But first, there was one last album; one last great record of the gothic age. After the sprawling, multi-faceted Kiss Me Kiss Me Kiss Me, Disintegration was the kiss-off; the last swim in those deep dark waters before we too fragmented, took on responsibilities and families, or didn't, and lost ourselves in the swirling undercurrents as drugs and drink and mental illness ceased to be our playthings and took control instead. Whatever, after 1989, The Cure weren't the same, and neither were we. Neither were any of their peers, for that matter; The Banshees, The Sisters, The Cult, The Mission... all broke up or suddenly seemed incapable of making a decent record once the decade that defined them was over.

Some people say that the Cure aren't a goth band. They're wrong. Robert Smith's drum machine-driven, instrumental demo of 'Prayers for Rain', which opens disc two here, could almost be a retroactive blueprint for the whole genre; certainly, you could lay a Siouxsie Sioux or an Andrew Eldritch vocal over the top without either artist leaving their comfort zone. I see no shame in this, as you may have gathered; but it's The Cure's undeniable gothiness, their melodrama and purple passages, all that hair and lipstick, that means they can never quite be taken seriously. As good as they are, there's still a whiff of patchouli about Seventeen Seconds and Faith that stops them being in quite the same league as, say, Unknown Pleasures or Metal Box.

There's something a little bit gauche and adolescent about The Cure. They've written some brilliant songs that mean a great deal to a large number of people, but at the same time they're seen as a band that you grow out of. And by and large, this is all true; Disintegration however, is the exception. I don't know if it's their best album, but it's certainly their most mature: the last of the 80s, and the last of their classic period. Reflecting on the life journeys of the past decade, it doesn't deny the follies and passions of youth, but absorbs them, dignifies them, sums them up and lays them aside, without too much regret. Disintegration is essence of Cure, perfected, refined; after this, there was nowhere else for them to go. They were never this good, never mattered this much, ever again. But Disintegration remains the Cure album you can still listen to, twenty-one years on; without embarrassment, and with a great deal of bittersweet pleasure.

"Whenever I'm alone with you / you make me feel like I am home again" – 'Lovesong'.

And now it's back, reissued in this deluxe, re-mastered three-CD format. Disc two, misleadingly titled 'Rarities,' is largely a load of ropey old rehearsal tapes, and is utterly inessential; disc three is a remixed and expanded version of the previously available Entreat live album, and consists of the whole of Disintegration played, in order and pretty much note-for-note, at Wembley Arena in 1989. Fine as far as it goes. But it's disc one, the original album, that we're really here for. Scrubbed up nicely, Disintegration still sounds simple and perfect, conjuring up emotional depths and rich autumnal colours with a few deft brushstrokes. Every instrument does no more than is strictly necessary; the bass and drums setting up a steady, unhurried groove for a three-note keyboard melody, the guitar wandering unobtrusively between, setting up resonances, counter-rhythms and counter-melodies, but never crowding, merely suggesting the possibilities inherent in so much space. Smith's vocals seem to settle on one of a near-infinite number of possible tunes, stepping lightly through the structure, dodging the beat, yet making each room they pass through their own.

Disintegration has been described as a sequel to 1982's wrist-slitting fan favourite, Pornography. Yet the two albums are very different. Pornography is dense, claustrophobic and virtually tuneless- in the best possible sense. Turgid and deliberately ugly, drowning in self-pity and occasionally lashing out with bursts of savage loathing, Pornography sounds like depression feels: sucking all positive energy into a black hole of utter negativity. But Disintegration is spacious and melodic, and filled with moments of great beauty. Its pace is stately and elegiac. Bells twinkle like stars in the midnight sky; melodic basslines weave their way through the gentle sadness of sighing guitars and keyboards that rise up like glaciers. Certainly, to the unaccustomed ear, there is doom and gloom aplenty; the abyss is never far away. But this is the Cure we're talking about, after all. These things are relative. Disintegration is a melancholy record, but not a depressed one.

"Sometimes you make me feel like I'm living at the edge of the world. It's just the way I smile, you said." –Plainsong.

'Pictures of You' deals with heartbreak and regret, but it's wistful; there is still love and admiration for the one that got away, the lover that the narrator could never be equal to. 'Lovesong' is just that- no edge, no irony, just Smith's wedding present to his long-term partner Mary. The spindly funk of 'Lullaby', tripping on the offbeat, anticipated the dark, English hip-hop of Tricky long before it was sampled by the likes of Just Jack and Rachel Stevens. It's 'Love Cats' turned inside out, creepy-kooky, bad dreams on Top of the Pops and that video scarring a generation of kids on Saturday morning's The Chart Show. And then 'Fascination Street,' the American hit, the epic intro with that churning bassline moving through a dark desert landscape lit with neon flashes of keyboards and guitar, images strobing into view as the drugs take hold, finally pulling into the city limits- "oh it's opening time down on Fascination Street..." And one last dance, one last drink, one last messy fuck before we say goodbye forever... chiming shining arpeggios flash like knives in alleyways.

On the original vinyl, side one had the hits, but side two hid the darkness. Side one was for dancing in the clubs, partying on snakebite and cider with your painted friends, but side two is what happened back at yours, though both of us can barely remember, or barely want to. "A hold on me so dull it kills, you stifle me, infectious sense of hopelessness," spits Smith on 'Prayers for Rain,' as layers of treated keyboards drone sickeningly, and guitars circle like bad habits, repeating the same pattern over and over. A narrative about being buried alive in a destructive relationship, stagnating, trapped, and having to cut yourself free from the other, the one you wanted to help but who only ended up dragging you into their own cycles of misery. It's hard not to see this song as Smith's shout of frustration with his once-close friend, the soon-to-be-sacked Lol Tolhurst; by this stage a hopeless lush whose only contribution to the band he helped form was to be the designated scapegoat and butt of cruel jokes- a more valuable role, it turned out, than anyone realised, as after he left the band tore itself apart on the subsequent Prayer world tour. Smith was praying for something to break, and eventually it did.

Tolhurst's sole musical contribution comes in the form of one-note keyboard stabs on 'The Same Deep Water As You,' another song about mirrors and drowning, about losing it, allowing the sirens to call you to slowly slide under and slip away. The title track is another song about endings and break-ups, its fast, unrelenting beat letting the bitterness of the lyrics pass without comment, keeping you from breaking down, keeping everything sharply spiteful and sardonic. A sound like breaking glass recurs in the background, and the backing vocals are queasily high-pitched, like the aural equivalent of funhouse mirrors. And finally the bittersweet, reflective 'Untitled,' the perfect ending; music for walking away. "Never quite said what I wanted to say... and now the time has gone."

It was all over- the 1980s, our youth, the context for records like this, and indeed The Cure as a vital, creative force. In interviews at the time, Smith said that this would be the band's last album; that he thought of it as such while he was writing it. He was turning thirty, and believed that it was impossible to make a great rock record after that age, so this was his last chance. He was right. The Cure would return, of course; becoming the stadium band Smith always feared they would, with creaking, gargantuan world tours, and a new album with a new line-up once every four years. But they were irrelevant dinosaurs from 1992 onwards. The world had changed; we all had to grow up, move on, and mostly, we left The Cure behind. But we found, to our surprise, that we could take Disintegration with us.

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Purves Grundy
May 28, 2010 12:29pm

That's a terrific review, absolutely nailing everything - 1989 (as I lived it), that album and the Cure as a whole. Very sensible to restrict it to basically reviewing the original vinyl version, too, as the extra tracks on the CD version are insubstantial and do nothing but interrupt the otherwise overwhelming progress of side 2.

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Young-Gunner
May 28, 2010 3:20pm

Yes, this review is spot on in almost every respect.... It really was all over for the cure (in terms of new output) after this album and for me too this was the last hometown (bedroom) hurrah before shipping out to uni in the big city, leaving cure tapes and black hair etc behind....

Musicially, I do wish there were more guitars and less synths on this album tho....

Anyhow, I still believe that 17 Second/faith/pornography are the holy trinity of cure albums. If RS had ended it all (like Ian Curtis) or the cure had produced nothing else at all of any note (like PiL more or less) then they'd probably be elevated to the legendary status they deserve.

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PAC
May 29, 2010 9:48am

Lovely Narrative.

'Disintegration' was my introduction. And fair point, for all my intrigue in post & prior.. nothing else became an ally.

'Disintegration' attended College 3 years later. But scored no damage. There were no Goths. Thank The Almighty i sidestepped Leeds, i presume.

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Johnny Nothing
May 30, 2010 2:25am

Christ, I'm so happy to have left all of this behind. Squalid, so squalid.

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auteur55
May 30, 2010 10:05pm

I grew out of the Cure but oddly I've grown back into them. A rediscovery of their music through the remastered reissues of their earlier albums has opened up a new appreciation for them. Other then the Top the albums were brilliant up through Disintegration. I can't believe how I overlooked Faith at the time. Stunning minimal haunting album. I also love Head on the Door and Kiss me. Of the later era I don't mind Bloodflowers and quite like Wish. The rest, especially the last two, have been turgid.

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hobbes
May 31, 2010 2:18pm

In reply to Johnny Nothing:

Johnny Nothing, you're my hero!
How I wish I was a cool as you.

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Aaron
Jun 1, 2010 3:55pm

The best band ever, with the best album ever with the best opening song ever. I wish I was alive to appreciate the prayer tour.
The remaster brings new clarity. I recently bought the older master and this effort is much better in mixing etc.

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Ingmar
Jun 1, 2010 7:46pm

In reply to Purves Grundy:

Quote: Very sensible to restrict it to basically reviewing the original vinyl version, too, as the extra tracks on the CD version are insubstantial and do nothing but interrupt the otherwise overwhelming progress of side 2.

Actually they are neither "extra tracks" but part of the original album (and were only left of the vinyl as decision of the record company that was afraid to release another double album after KMKMKM), nor are they "insubstantial" by any mean.

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Dylan
Jun 2, 2010 6:24am

The former Labour MP and Cabinet Minister Tony Benn once commented, "The Labour party has never been a socialist party, although there have always been socialists in it - a bit like Christians in the Church of England."

The reason I bring up this quotation is because I believe the same analogy could (albeit clumsily) be applied to The Cure's music - The Cure have never been a goth band, although their oeuvre has always had goth songs in it.

The term "goth" is usually ascribed to The Cure by an indolent British music press.  This is in order to smear the group as being incapable of ploughing any musical furrow other than the rather silly one-dimensional genre the press misinterpret as their métier.  

The predominately white. suburban, middle-class, public-school educated music journalists who originated the term, may have drawn parallels between their own backgrounds to that of members of The Cure.  Possibly out of self-loathing, they instead preferred to romanticise working-class groups such as The Smiths, The Fall and New Order.  Being from the North, these bands were seen as gritty and something "other" to Southern journos and, unlike The Cure, they were to be taken seriously as they had to be "4Real".

Ironically, the musical output of these critical darlings was considerably less varied - though, I hasten to add, no less accomplished - than The Cure's kaleidoscopic musical output.  None the less, it was The Cure who would forever be tagged with a specious label while their peers escaped any such epithet and, to this day, The Cure are less highly revered.  
 
I'm not saying you're guilty by association with your antecedents Ben, but if you have to use an instrumental demo as evidence for the goth blueprint, then I'm afraid you're the one who is wrong.  I guess if we could expunge "The Lovecats", "Why Can't I Be You?", "Friday, I'm In Love" and countless other non-goth songs from The Cure's canon, then your thesis may have some verisimilitude.  Selectively picking just one song to fit in with your preconceptions of The Cure being a goth band seems deliberately mischievous.

I apologise if my response may come over as harsh because generally speaking, I thought your review was sagaciously written with some beautifully descriptive passages.   

Shame you had to resurrect the "g" word but I guess as far as the music press is concerned, some memes are never likely to disintegrate.

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John Doran
Jun 2, 2010 9:03am

In reply to Dylan:

Dylan, that's a great comment but while the ranks of the NME may have been culled from white public school boys in the 80s and 90s to a certain degree, this wasn't universally the case and isn't at all now. I'd certainly disagree as regards The Quietus. And I'd agree with you on the 'g' word depending on which albums we're talking about but in the case of Disintegration... come on... it's goth. If this (and Faith and Pornography and Seventeen Seconds and Bloodflowers) are not goth albums then none are.

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Abel
Jun 2, 2010 11:01am

It's not that "people say Cure are not a goth Band" It's the singer himself who says so. He recently reminded the roots of the band with songs like Killing an Arab (now chrstitend Killing Another, for obvuious reasons), Boys Don't Cry, 10:15 Saturday Night, Three Imaginary Boys, A Forest, Secrets, M...

Even the singer himself said so in 1989 (look for that special issue called "GOTH" with a drawing fo him on the cover and the interview of that year of the Cure in which he says: "I don't like Gothic rock because it's shit".

The fact that they out-gothed everybody at some point else don't make them goths, sorry... It just shows Robert has been smarter than all them...

And from 1992 onwards they may be irrelevant but, search a bit and you'll find irresistible gems that could pair with some of this record...

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Dylan
Jun 2, 2010 11:39pm

In reply to John Doran:

Thanks for the compliment John.  I fear the crux of my argument may have been drowned in my own verbosity.  It was rendered as appearing even more long-winded, as the site collated all my paragraphs into one - it's probably happened again.

As I attempted to demonstrate through my analogy, I don't deny that The Cure certainly have their "goth" dalliances but that doesn't make them a goth band per se.  As Ben concedes (and therefore contradicts) himself in his description of "Kiss Me, Kiss Me, Kiss Me", The Cure's music is much too "sprawling" and "multi-faceted" to deserve such a shibboleth.  Contrast this eclecticism with a more representative goth band like The Sisters of Mercy, who even manage to imbue their cover of Hot Chocolate's "Emma" with gothic portent.

I admit I made a generalisation on the backgrounds of a clutch of music journalists, and I've scant knowledge of the current crop.  However, I still feel there is a tendency (particularly in the British music press) to fetishise working-class bands, e.g. Oasis were still being venerated long after they ceased to be of any artistic worth.  My larger point was more to do with the fallacy (of The Cure being a goth band) being passed on from one generation of music critics to the next.

The "goth" tag only perturbs me because think how ridiculous it would be if every time you read an article on David Bowie, his name was prefixed with "glam-rocker".  I think certain critics are guilty of making the lazy corollary that if Robert Smith's image hasn't changed over time, then neither has his music - something the Chameleon of Rock studiously avoided of course.

To this day, some of my friends won't even give The Cure a listen due to the negative connotations of "goth" propogated by the music press - their loss I guess.

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John Doran
Jun 3, 2010 8:20am

In reply to Dylan:

I roundly agree with everything you say though, and so do a lot of our writers. I would choose a different example to Sisters Of Mercy however who were a rock band (going through post punk, gothic, stadium rock then glam metal phases). The Cure were even more eclectic however nailing punk, post punk, goth (and I'd say five or six entire albums is more than a dalliance - especially when one is the bench mark by which all other goth albums must be judged - Pornography), pop, electro, synth pop, disco... etc.

As always with genres, it is the followers, or second wave adherents who reterritorialize the scene and give it a set of codified rules that it doesn't need. So with goth the proper genre bands were lesser talents such as Fields Of The Nephelim.

I get tired repeating this fact but you're putting me in a position where I have to: my dad worked his entire life on the shop floor of a furniture factory in the North West and I was the first person in my family to go to university. And on The Quietus I'm far from the only person to fit this bill. Other horny handed sons of toil (emphasis on sons here, all music hacks to a man, are lazy bastards) who have written for us include Simon Price, Joe Stannard, Tommy Udo, John Robb, the late Carol Clerk, Jeremy Allen and no doubt many others who are going to spend all day emailing me to bollock me for not including them in this list.

And of all our writers, we've only got one bona fide Oasis fan, John Tatlock, who is, as it happens, arguably the most working class of the lot as he grew up in the same shithole that I did, St Helens but left mainstream education at 16 with little in the way of formal education. He's also one of our best writers, autodidact that he is.

It's not always the best plan to jump to conclusions about groups of people. Whatever your feelings about Q or music journalism in the 80s, I can assure you they don't apply at the Quietus.

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Dylan
Jun 4, 2010 7:03am

In reply to John Doran:

I imagine this will be my last post on the matter but I just wanted to thank you for taking time from your day to read (and respond to) my protracted comments.  As you have articulated yourself John, we are almost exclusively in agreement and the longer we discuss this, negligable differences of opinion are needlessly being fashioned into gulfs that don't really exist - a bit like the recent General Election campaign.

I confess I only used the Sisters of Mercy as my "goth" reference point as it amuses me that a paean to a childhood sweetheart emerges (through Eldritch's delivery) as the nefarious mindset of a serial killer.  Then again, the song always did have an unhappy ending but I digress - the point I was alluding to was that a song from a diametrically opposing genre still ended up sounding "goth" in the Sisters' hands.  The Cure have tried their hand at most styles of music in their career (some more successfully than others) but it hasn't all ended up sounding exclusively "goth".   

Incidentally, "Pornography" may well be considered the bench mark goth album but as the genre didn't exist at the time of it's inception, it's only retrospectively regarded as such.  I imagine my use of analogies is starting to grate by now, but Edvard Munch's painting "The Scream" is held as a beacon of Expressionism though art history decrees Munch a forerunner, rather than a participant, of the movement.

You were however spot on about the acolytes who usurped the genre.  Like yourself, I see Fields of the Nephilim as quintessentially "goth" and perhaps they're one of the reasons why I find it problematical to view The Cure as belonging to the same genre.  For instance, can you contemplate a member of the Neff - or come to think of it, any other "goth" icon - dressed up in an animal costume performing badly choreographed boy-band routines with the rest of the group in fancy-dress getup (and have it filmed for a promo)?

I honestly wasn't aware you had previous form on having to explain your personal background, though it was interesting to note past contributors to The Quietus whose names I recognise.  Being a white male from a Welsh working-class family, I imagine my own background to be not too dissimilar to that of Simon Price.  I also fondly remember Carol Clerk's writings for Melody Maker, so it came as a bit of a shock to read that she is no longer with us.  I must be a bit slow on the uptake as I also didn't realise that I've read (and enjoyed) several of your own contributions in the past.
    
My supposition of the British music press treating The Cure with opprobrium on account of their (own) middle-class backgrounds was intended to be just that - a supposition.  It was't arrived at before a measure of forethought.  I think the American music press (who aren't so hung up on class as us Brits) seem generally less hostile, and this is possibly a reason why The Cure's influence resonates more deeply across the Atlantic.  As an interesting sideline, The Cure's background never seemed to be an issue for British working-class bands like the Jesus and Mary Chain and (more recently) Mogwai.  However, since you have largely debunked my hypothesis, I should perhaps retrospectively suffix all mentions of the British music press in my previous posts with, "an honourable exception being The Quietus".

If my posts are reproved for "making a generalisation" (as I in fact acknowledged) or for "jumping to conclusions" (as you chided), you must surely concur that these practices are often part and parcel of music criticism in general.

After all, you wouldn't be able to establish musical genres without a degree of extrapolation - which of course, was where I came in with my original post.

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John Doran
Jun 4, 2010 9:06am

In reply to Dylan:

Thanks for your kind and well-thought out comments here. They're much appreciated. There's no reason you should know who I am, I'm not well-known, even amongst the latest crop of music writers but, I am lucky in having numerous brilliant and revered writers on my books who work, mostly for love, because the money we offer ranges between non-existent and risible.

I'd argue that Uknown Pleasures is the first goth album but today is too nice to spend arguing about such trivialities. If you use the site's search function, Alex Ogg has written entertainingly on the history of goth here and we have a classic interview with Robert Smith up that dates from 1989.

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Shannon M.
Jun 5, 2010 5:46pm

Thank you for a brilliant review - I don't think I could have said it better. I still listen to side 2 more than side 1 - must be the goth girl from my mis-spent youth. And really who gives a toss what defines goth at this point some 25+ years on. As long as you don't throw Marilyn Manson in the mix then I'm ok.

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Christine
Jun 11, 2010 8:19am

This review is absolutely beautifully written.

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Ben Graham
Jun 11, 2010 9:34pm

In reply to Dylan:

Hi Dylan,

Sorry I've only just read this thread. All I want to add is that the whole argument depends on whether you see being described as 'goth' or 'gothic' as insulting or limiting; I don't. Certainly, the mainstream music press of the 80s and 90s saw it as a dirty word, but I think the rehabilitation has already begun, and I'd like to continue that. So I suppose to that end I want to include The Cure to bolster the side; as an example of a goth band with a wide palette, and to point to Love Cats etc not as exceptions but as examples of the diversity that can exist within the genre. Similarly, I love The Sisters of Mercy and I think that all their adoptions of different generic tropes are examples of why gothic music, in its day, was inventive and challenging and not just the preserve of second-stringers like The Nephilim (though they also made some fine records).

Sure, Smith has denied being a goth till he's blue in the face- so, for, that matter, has Siouxsie, Eldritch and most likely Nod from the Neff. I can't think of any band or artist actually who has said, yes, we're goths. But I think certainly by Disintergration the Cure were widely perceived as a goth band, their fans were mostly goths (though they probably denied it too), and they played up to the goth image with the hair, make-up, dry ice and the clothes they wore on stage. I think of goth as post-punk darkness + glam rock dressing up and androgyny + art school experimentation + the romantic poets + cold war paranoia + a dash of paisley psychedelia... a definite movement that was far richer than its many detractors suggest. And that's my background (if labels mean anything): northern, working class and, yes, a goth.

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Martin
Jun 19, 2010 12:17am

Absolutely no truer words ever written. A fantastically thorough, insightful and utterly prescient review. I too agree with the sentiments regarding this as the last GREAT Cure album and I have always maintained this as such. What with Smith's so-called mid-life crisis (what crisis, as it turns out??) as he entered his 30s, there seemed such an aptly inevitable finality about this record, the subsequent UK gigs that went on for three hours plus (I was at the NEC Birmingham one, where it really did feel like it was going to be for the last time: 90 minute main set followed by 90 minutes of encores. Three Imaginary Boys was the last song. Make of that what you will. It was also a gloriously hot summers day in July that year - 1989 - the first of two scorchingly hot and sunny twin summers), and the realisation that the Cure would mark their tenth - only tenth then! They're over 30 now!!!! - anniversary by quitting while they were ahead to explore pastures new....

My written thoughts and impressions of this largely magnificent record have been likewise documented in depth in many other places - suffice to say that the many great words written here touch upon ideals and notions that even I didn't know existed. A fantastic critique. And like yourself, the words 'melancholy', 'majestic', 'classical', 'bittersweet', 'reflective', 'redemptive', and, most of all, 'glacial' apply so perfectly when describing much of the music contained within these 10 songs (I actually don't reckon much of the two additional cassette/CD tracks as was on the initial release - now included on the 2x vinyl reissue - and have tended to skip them whenever listening to the album on CD anyway).

"Plainsong" is actually now officially my favourite Cure tune of all time...EVER. IT has been ever since the album came out. I am hopelessly, deliriously, stupidly, obsessively, submissively in love with this song and the fact that it - to my ears at least - sounds like the aural equivalent of a huge Alpine waterfall cascading down in slow motion [those sepulchral keyboards and massively-echoed twinkling bells that recall Joy Division's 'Atmosphere'] is what nails it for me..... absolute nirvana of the most celestial kind! I could wallow in the intro to that song for ever and never get tired of it. It really is THAT swoonsomely gorgeous. Just hearing them gentle windchimes giving way to that mass of stately synths coming on like some huge orchestral starburst just gives me goosebumps on top of goosebumps. Every time.

I've wept and cried privately to myself to a few of the songs on this album more than I have with any other. Tears of joy, elation, frustration, sadness and despair, occasionally all these emotions at the same time. Such is the tangible effect 'Disintegration' has on me. It's that sort of record.

So yes.... this was the last great Cure album and a masterpiece of its time. The Cure never reached these dizzying peaks again (Wish was half-baked and horribly contrived for the most part, Wild Mood Swings was just a poor retread of former KMKMKM glories, Bloodflowers was too self-consciously an attempt to revisit Disintegration revisiting Pornography revisiting Faith [funny how Pornography found itself as part of TWO Cure trilogies eh??], The Cure was just wretched, and 4:13 Dream was just tired and unfocussed.....) And let's not forget that shortly after Disintegration came out, Jo Brand of all people started copying Robert Smith's hairstyle and at one point it was hard to tell the difference between the two. This state of affairs remained until Jo and Robert both got a bit older and the former realised that looking like the latter no longer cut the mustard and so decided to lop her hair off and impersonate John Sergeant instead....

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Indigo Eyes
Nov 25, 2010 3:24pm

What a great review! Every important aspect properly put. Simply genius!!
For The Cure lovers check this forum for live concerts: www.cureconnections.com. They have it all in the best sound quality.

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Michael
Dec 14, 2010 4:57am

1989 was the year of 'Disintegration' and 'Pretty Hate Machine'. Though similar in theme, the joy of pain, the former solidified a place in time and the latter set fire to that same place.

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Andrew D
Dec 27, 2010 12:08am

On taking the Cure seriously... what makes the Cure truly great is just the fact that they alienate the 'mature', 'adult', listener who will happily discuss in lowered voices their love for PiL or Joy Division.

An essential part of the Cure is a biting critique of the concept of adulthood, including its many fallacies and pretences (consider the lyrics of 'Primary'). Smith has stated in interview that he didn't want the Cure to be the kind of 'serious' band that would be discussed at dinner parties; this was anathema to him. And he's also spoken about rejecting the notion that age brings any sense of clarity, wisdom, or true development.

Those who understand all this are the true Cure fans. Those who either don't get this, or don't accept the critique, are those who will always remain awkward in their appraisals of what is an epic and, in my view, incomparable, catalogue of work.

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